550 customers still in the dark as SMUD repairs downtown substation

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Repairs were still underway Wednesday after a suspected transformer explosion started a fire at a downtown Sacramento SMUD facility. 

About 750 customers had their power turned back on early Wednesday morning.

But one of the three networks the power substation serves still had major damage, and by Wednesday night, 550 customers were going on roughly 30 hours with no power.

SMUD said power to those customers would be returned by Friday morning.

The remaining outage begins around 6th Street and goes west, with the busy corridor transitioning to blank traffic signals and dark offices all the way to West Sacramento.

SMUD explained its online outage map is not accurate and will not show the current downtown outage. A spokesperson explained the downtown networks are built in a way that makes it so their outages do not report on their electronic app.

Topo Padilla said not only has Padilla Bail Bonds not slowed down, if anything, they’ve seen an increase in calls with people concerned about jail release delays and missed court dates after the power outage caused issues at the Sacramento County Main Jail and courthouse.

Padilla said he opted for setting up a smaller generator instead of a more expensive and labor-intensive power workaround because he believes power will be restored soon.

“We’ve got the jail to my left, Kaiser to my right and the building I’m in,” Padilla said. “I know these are two critical offices they want to get heated back up. We’re just going to, hopefully, be lucky and get caught up in the circumstances of having our power turned back on.”

Deputy Director Kim Pedersen with the Sacramento County Superior Court said power returned to the jail and courthouse at around 10 a.m. The Hall of Justice Building was still in the dark by Wednesday afternoon, and Pedersen said they expect there to be “significant delays with inmate transportation and resumption of calendars.” 

“Between yesterday afternoon and this morning’s downtown court closure, over 1,400 civil and criminal cases will be rescheduled due to this significant event,” Pedersen continued.

A spokesperson for the jail told FOX40 it has been running on generators and as a result, has had to lockdown everything but essential services.

Many of the people without power, among other things, have also been struggling to keep warm. 

A 12-story building housing hundreds of senior residents was evacuated after the fire rendered the building’s fire suppression system unsafe.

Sacramento Fire Department Capt. Keith Wade said they received multiple calls that residents’ oxygen devices were without electricity due to the outage. Several residents were taken to the hospital for further oxygen delivery.

The American Red Cross said 48 evacuees were taken to City Hall for shelter overnight.

Tuesday night, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg addressed the city’s plans for the evacuees.

“Many vulnerable people need electricity, and without electricity, they cannot remain where they are,” Steinberg said. “Everyone is going to be cared for, who is affected by this power outage.”

The cold temperatures weren’t enough to save one Old Sacramento ice cream shop. They bought ice bags to keep some ice cream cold, but they lost everything in their main coolers.

About $1,000 was gone amid their low season.

“But at least it’s not the summer. Imagine losing $1,000 in the summer. That would be worse,” said David Suh. 

Suh said it was actually his family’s last day in business. They turned over the keys to the new owners Wednesday.

“So instead of giving their family the training that we promised them, the only we trained them is how to throw things away,” he said.

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